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David Williams

BF operations to Le Havre (and related history!)

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23 minutes ago, LHCity said:

Unlike Ouistreham, Le Havre is controlled by the National Police: PAF = "Border Police" because Le Havre is the largest French port and has the regional customs headquarters. Le Havre has had a scanner and veterinary services for a long time, very useful with Brexit.

That might be the case for the port as a whole, however am convinced that 2018 and earlier the passports were checked by the Police Municipale, not sure about 2019 as I avoided the port due to the Brexit schedules.

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What I don't understand about the port of Le Havre, if it's closed as the news reports I get on French, TV, and by BF, updates, why is it that other ships still dock in Le Havre. ???

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18 minutes ago, Eddies said:

What I don't understand about the port of Le Havre, if it's closed as the news reports I get on French, TV, and by BF, updates, why is it that other ships still dock in Le Havre. ???

They don't, at least not at the moment. As I understand it there are virtually no port movements for container ships at present but the fuel terminals do still seem to be accepting vessels. The situation may well vary from day to day as that obviously creates a more uncertain atmosphere among the shipping companies and helps the unions to put the pressure on the government. Several of my customers have diverted their containers to Antwerp to get around the problem. Ed. 

Edited by Cabin-boy

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42 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

It is strange that they put USB points in Normandies cabins and not others in the fleet , I haven’t been on here since 2015 so I can’t comment on the overall standard of the cabins but as @jonno says BF don’t splash out on internal renovations, I suspect the bed configuration on Honfleur is cost driven more than aesthetics.

Is Le Havre in BFs long term plans ? With Ouistreham nearby? Do BF know the answer to that question? Would anyone on here be bothered if they stopped operating to their? I suppose as long as they can string Normandie out Le Havre is safe. 

Le Havre generates its own Freight traffic, which justifies the connection. It would not be imaginable otherwise

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41 minutes ago, David Williams said:

That might be the case for the port as a whole, however am convinced that 2018 and earlier the passports were checked by the Police Municipale, not sure about 2019 as I avoided the port due to the Brexit schedules.

Municipal Police, it's impossible

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49 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Was with you all the way up to here.  But I think you’ve got this point totally the wrong way round.  It was as a direct result of the development of Ouistreham, systematically from 1986 to become the route of choice to Normandy, that both Cherbourg and Le Havre declined to the point of being no longer viable.

No, Ouistreham would not have had such a development without the departure of P&O from Le Havre. The replacement of P&O was not up to par.

The ideal would have been for BF to take over the two Prides to reduce Ouistreham and make Le Havre its main line. The advantage would have been to be at the center of the Freight traffic generated by the largest French port.

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1 minute ago, LHCity said:

No, Ouistreham would not have had such a development without the departure of P&O from Le Havre. The replacement of P&O was not up to par.

Believe what you want LHC, but I’m sorry, I’m not going to get involved in rewriting history.  As I said previously, to date there has been no development of Ouistreham at all since P&O pulled out.  Current provision is exactly the same as it was then.

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Some traffic figures (sourced from Shippax Statistics) - not sure what they prove but P&O gradually weakened over time for whatever reasons:

image.png.4fdfddc632734f0e925c397b8679af70.png

All routes saw a freight unit bounce following the establishment of the Single Market but as the passenger business shrank it was P&O who passengers fled from, BF broadly holding their own.

The economics of huge charter fees for the two Olaus, falling passenger numbers and losing share in the freight business must have caused hair to go grey at P&O. I'm sure they would have muttered darkly about BF's "illegal subsidies" or similar but the fact was that as time went by standards seemed to slip, they weren't offering what passengers wanted and didn't have ships which were entirely suited to the coming age. By 2003 the Olaus were carrying less in every category than the stretched Super Vikings had been in 1990 which was never going to be viable.

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13 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Believe what you want LHC, but I’m sorry, I’m not going to get involved in rewriting history.  As I said previously, to date there has been no development of Ouistreham at all since P&O pulled out.  Current provision is exactly the same as it was then.

Question is, where did all the passengers go, they didn't migrate to Caen as the pax figures there have hardly changed in 17 years?

1.3m passengers carried by P&O to Le Havre & Cherbourg in 2004, 1 million during 2005 after Pride of Le Havre left. They couldn't have all gone to Easyjet & Ryanair.

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4 minutes ago, hhvferry said:

Some traffic figures (sourced from Shippax Statistics) - not sure what they prove but P&O gradually weakened over time for whatever reasons:

image.png.4fdfddc632734f0e925c397b8679af70.png

All routes saw a freight unit bounce following the establishment of the Single Market but as the passenger business shrank it was P&O who passengers fled from, BF broadly holding their own.

The economics of huge charter fees for the two Olaus, falling passenger numbers and losing share in the freight business must have caused hair to go grey at P&O. I'm sure they would have muttered darkly about BF's "illegal subsidies" or similar but the fact was that as time went by standards seemed to slip, they weren't offering what passengers wanted and didn't have ships which were entirely suited to the coming age. By 2003 the Olaus were carrying less in every category than the stretched Super Vikings had been in 1990 which was never going to be viable.

Interesting, the DFT SPAS figures have Portsmouth - Ouistreham at 942, Le Havre 755 & Cherbourg 772. Both Le Havre and Cherbourg figures fell off a cliff when the Olau's left.

There must have been something to be had there or BF wouldn't have wanted the routes and the ships.

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10 hours ago, hhvferry said:

Some traffic figures (sourced from Shippax Statistics) - not sure what they prove but P&O gradually weakened over time for whatever reasons:

image.png.4fdfddc632734f0e925c397b8679af70.png

All routes saw a freight unit bounce following the establishment of the Single Market but as the passenger business shrank it was P&O who passengers fled from, BF broadly holding their own.

The economics of huge charter fees for the two Olaus, falling passenger numbers and losing share in the freight business must have caused hair to go grey at P&O. I'm sure they would have muttered darkly about BF's "illegal subsidies" or similar but the fact was that as time went by standards seemed to slip, they weren't offering what passengers wanted and didn't have ships which were entirely suited to the coming age. By 2003 the Olaus were carrying less in every category than the stretched Super Vikings had been in 1990 which was never going to be viable.

The only surprises in those numbers to me are that BF's passenger numbers to Caen and freight numbers from Poole were so good for so long.

It's also notable that P&O's passenger numbers to Cherbourg look pretty good even when they went down to a one ship service (plus HSC).  I'm less clear on the timeline here though, I know it went something like:

  • Viking Voyager and Viking Viscount - up to 1994
  • Viking Valiant and Viking Venturer - 94 - 98
  • Viking Valiant , Viking Venturer and Superstar Express - 98 - 00
  • Viking Valiant , Viking Venturer and Portsmouth/Cherbourg Express - 00 - 02
  • Portsmouth/Cherbourg Express and Pride of Cherbourg (ex Isle of innisfree) - 02 - 04

Did anyone else operated directly from Portsmouth to Cherbourg during the period?

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Has anyone got the Newhaven / Dieppe figures as I would have thought that is also relevant to any Le Havre changes.

The other negative Le Havre change over the years  is that all of the underpasses at the Junctions on the road out of Le Havre towards the bridge have been removed !

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On 24/01/2020 at 09:48, VikingVoyager said:

 

Did anyone else operated directly from Portsmouth to Cherbourg during the period?

depends when the start date is. In the early 90's there was another HS service with the Great Britain. Didn't last long.

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On 23/01/2020 at 22:50, jonno said:

 

Question is, where did all the passengers go, they didn't migrate to Caen as the pax figures there have hardly changed in 17 years?

1.3m passengers carried by P&O to Le Havre & Cherbourg in 2004, 1 million during 2005 after Pride of Le Havre left. They couldn't have all gone to Easyjet & Ryanair.

Plus all the other low cost carriers, short sea, and holidays in the med and other far flung places perhaps?  France in the car hasn't got the pull it once did unfortunately.  I assume much of the freight switched to short sea or other routes (Ireland - France direct rather than land bridge for instance)

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28 minutes ago, tarbyonline said:

Plus all the other low cost carriers, short sea, and holidays in the med and other far flung places perhaps?  France in the car hasn't got the pull it once did unfortunately.  I assume much of the freight switched to short sea or other routes (Ireland - France direct rather than land bridge for instance)

If you listen to Stena's MD & Rosslare's Glenn Carr, the land bridge is more efficient and quicker than any ferry sailing and why I don't believe Rosslare's new service is bound for France, It's Kerry/Connemara relocating. Cherbourg isn't exactly awash with HGV's or unaccompanied trailers waiting to be transported up the Irish Sea.

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17 minutes ago, jonno said:

If you listen to Stena's MD & Rosslare's Glenn Carr, the land bridge is more efficient and quicker than any ferry sailing and why I don't believe Rosslare's new service is bound for France, It's Kerry/Connemara relocating. Cherbourg isn't exactly awash with HGV's or unaccompanied trailers waiting to be transported up the Irish Sea.

Yet here we are with three direct routes from Ireland to France, two of which are very much year-round and freight orientated (Irish Ferries and Stena Line). Niclas Mårtensson (the CEO of Stena) as recently as two weeks ago said they couldn’t  rule out increasing frequency to Cherbourg.  

I suspect you might be in for a shock of what I’m hearing turns out to be accurate :) 

Edited by tarbyonline
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5 minutes ago, tarbyonline said:

Yet here we are with three direct routes from Ireland to France, two of which are very much year-round and freight orientated (Irish Ferries and Stena Line). Niclas Mårtensson (the CEO of Stena) as recently as two weeks ago said they couldn’t  rule out increasing frequency to Cherbourg.  

I suspect you might be in for a shock of what I’m hearing turns out to be accurate :) 

You can’t leave us hanging like that. 😢

Can you say if it’s a new ship, or an existing ship redeployed.

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6 minutes ago, nick hall said:

You can’t leave us hanging like that. 😢

Can you say if it’s a new ship, or an existing ship redeployed.

I don't even know that much tbh but I don't think Jonno is wide of the mark saying Connemara/Kerry could be moved.  I CAN say France is definitely on the agenda though, and Le Havre has been posted publicly on Facebook for what that's worth.  Theres been whispers for a while that BF have been looking Rosslare but a certain TD kind of let the cat out of the bag earlier.  Of course it isn't official until its official, so we'd be best waiting until the official announcement until getting too excited/worked up!

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On 23/01/2020 at 13:04, VikingVoyager said:

Having said that, the Jumbo Vikings lasted another 8 years or so on the Le Havre run and more than 15 years in their jumbo state running from Portsmouth so in terms of cost effectiveness I would imagine the process was successful.

I remember sailing out to Cherbourg in one of them in the late 1990s and returning from Le Havre in one of the ex-Olau pair. The difference was stark. At that point in time I'd guess the BF offering fell somewhere between the two in terms of attractiveness of the ships

TT apparently at least had a look at bigger tonnage as far back as the mid-80's.  Theres a reference to it in the Stena history as the proposal was to build them on TT's behalf (and charter?  The details are sketchy in my mind).  Interestingly the proposal was to build in China.  But then financial issues, P&O and the rest and we are left wondering what if?  They may have dodged a bullet though - how many 1980's passenger ferries can we think of that were built in China and served in Northern Europe?  Its only the past 6 years or so Stena have had the confidence to build their own tonnage there!


 

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That sounds very unlike TT tarby!  TT got a lot wrong in the mid 80s.  One of which was turning down an invitation from the Port of Caen to team up with them to develop a new ferry terminal at Ouistreham!  (They were quite happy at Cherbourg and Le Havre.  So BF was approached instead....and the rest is history!).

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8 minutes ago, tarbyonline said:

Yet here we are with three direct routes from Ireland to France, two of which are very much year-round and freight orientated (Irish Ferries and Stena Line). Niclas Mårtensson (the CEO of Stena) as recently as two weeks ago said they couldn’t  rule out increasing frequency to Cherbourg.  

Agreed Steve, but there were four. The land bridge carries more than twice freight of the direct routes, 500m tonnes compared to 2.3m. The Lo Lo stuff comes from Dublin, last count was 7000 containers after a 36% uplift, it doesn't need a ferry and a lot of freight which was carried using trailers accompanied or not now sails direct to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam. The direct Ro Ro traffic is for the most part centred around Rosslare and over 60% of this is destined for countries beyond France, to Spain, Portugal & Africa... hence the Vigo rumour to Cork.

I'm also considering that France and the EU are kicking off over the volume of heavy traffic transiting the country so too are road owners such as Vinci & ALIS, the latter have increased tolls by 3.5% and are due to raise them again along the A28 between Le Mans &  Rouen, a particularly strategic freight corridor.

I know the Irish port authorities are closely negotiating with their French counterparts, I'm not completely dismissing a further link to France either... Rosslare lost a lot of money when Oscar Wilde was sold and I've been saying on here for while that I wouldn't be surprised to see Stena use one of their longer E-Flexers in place of Horizon once the berth extension is completed, I just think it's too early yet.

In the short term, and now the U.K/EU agreement has been signed, I just feel that relocating the Economie vessel from Cork is the more realistic scenario. 

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21 minutes ago, tarbyonline said:

how many 1980's passenger ferries can we think of that were built in China and served in Northern Europe?

None, just the 2 for Gotland around 2003 and that raised eyebrows. They're being built in China now, they've had cutting edge technology to match any European yard for years but they're still under the direction of European architects and interior designers.

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2 minutes ago, jonno said:

Agreed Steve, but there were four. The land bridge carries more than twice freight of the direct routes, 500m tonnes compared to 2.3m. The Lo Lo stuff comes from Dublin, last count was 7000 containers after a 36% uplift, it doesn't need a ferry and a lot of freight which was carried using trailers accompanied or not now sails direct to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam. The direct Ro Ro traffic is for the most part centred around Rosslare and over 60% of this is destined for countries beyond France, to Spain, Portugal & Africa... hence the Vigo rumour to Cork.

I'm also considering that France and the EU are kicking off over the volume of heavy traffic transiting the country so too are road owners such as Vinci & ALIS, the latter have increased tolls by 3.5% and are due to raise them again along the A28 between Le Mans &  Rouen, a particularly strategic freight corridor.

I know the Irish port authorities are closely negotiating with their French counterparts, I'm not completely dismissing a further link to France either... Rosslare lost a lot of money when Oscar Wilde was sold and I've been saying on here for while that I wouldn't be surprised to see Stena use one of their longer E-Flexers in place of Horizon once the berth extension is completed, I just think it's too early yet.

In the short term, and now the U.K/EU agreement has been signed, I just feel that relocating the Economie vessel from Cork is the more realistic scenario. 

You do realise the UK can still crash out of the EU with no agreement at the end of the year??

The point I was making is that it appears the direct routes are growing if we just look at the number of services - the operators are confident enough to put tonnage there at the end of the day.  We also shouldn't forget about Cobelfret either given how much of what moves through Dover on landbridge is bound for Belgium, Holland, Germany, etc,.  It is becoming increasingly apparent that anything using the landbridge WILL be subject to checks.  That's checks crossing the Irish Sea and further checks entering the EU again unless some agreement is signed (and that's far from certain).  Leaving aside the time factor (and lets be honest, these checks aren't going to be instant if anything is actually being checked), that's potentially a lot of paperwork.  Paperwork means cost.  A consignment entering Le Havre via Rosslare isn't creating any more traffic than a consignment arriving via Portsmouth anyway!

Just to throw something else into the mix, I recall a while back reading something about their being a potential subsidy for a Le Havre to France route.  Hmm

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6 minutes ago, jonno said:

None, just the 2 for Gotland around 2003 and that raised eyebrows. They're being built in China now, they've had cutting edge technology to match any European yard for years but they're still under the direction of European architects and interior designers.

Only they often own or have large interests in said architects!  Looking at you Deltamarin and OSK Shiptech!  How long before they become Chinese.  Drip, drip

Edited by tarbyonline

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7 minutes ago, tarbyonline said:

Only they often own or have large interests in said architects!  Looking at you Deltamarin and OSK Shiptech!

Yes OSK's collaboration with GSI works well and AVIC knew what they were doing by Deltamarin.

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